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Catalog Number 1996.51.136EZ
Object Name Letter
Accession number 1996.51
Description Full transcription of text follows:


Motor Section, Advance PC, GHQ, APO 930, A E F. May 11th, 1919 Dearest of Mothers: The most beautiful day thus far. Just the right sort of day for Mother's Day. The sun has at last discovered a way to crawl out of its prison - and as a consequence, I can talk once more. Paris is more wonderful than ever. Honestly, mother mine, there just couldn't be a more beautiful or lovable city. I spent three of the happiest of days there - no rain, fairly warm, all the trees and plants green again. I've decided on my career in life: to become a millionaire and spend some three months a year in Paris, and the other nine at home. Every time that I go there, it seems that I find something new that takes away one's breath. This time it was the Pantheon de la Guerre. The most wonderful painting that I have ever seen or ever expect to see. It was started some four years ago by two artists, in an effort to depict the progress of the war, and to commemorate the efforts of the allied armies in the field, and it certainly does all that and more. If you can imagine a tremendous panoramic painting, covering the walls of a circular building about half a hundred feet in diameter and twenty to thirty feet high, with thousands of figures, each of which is a portrait of some character, with as a background a detailed "bird's eye" view or map of the entire front from the north coast to the Swiss border, perhaps you can conceive the magnificence of the [Pantheon]. It is so carefully and accurately worked out that one who has been over the ground can take a pair of glasses and recognize old friends in the different cities. It's monumental, and takes a much better typewriter than mine to tell the story. Heard Samson et Dalila at the Opera, and saw a wonderful ballet give the Tragedy of Salome - also at the Opera. It's not necessary to say that I enjoyed myself there. The music for the ballet was magnificent; seemed to send shivers down one's back. Viola - c'est Paris. Ate at Cirot's, at Pocardi's, Gurney's, and the Cafe de la Paix. met an old acquaintance, a French lieutenant who introduced me to a number of people, who in turn invited me to dine and tea and dance, some of which I did. They certainly treated me splendidly, and I did the best that I could to behave myself properly and not disgrace the American army. The first real dinner party that I have attended over here; all the Big Bugs dressed up with a ribbon across the broad white expanse, and les dames et demoiselles looking like three million dollars. And the best meal that I ever tasted. Then I left this wonder city, and hunted up the Reserve which is preparing to return home. They are all gathering around Saint Mene-


hould, which is in the general vicinity of Toul, Verdun, and Bar le Duc. All of the old boys were there, some of them officers, but more of them sans the bit of harness named Sam Browne. Ci is quite as always, little McNeil Seymour, very late of St. Paul, is holding my old place of honour over the cuisine, and the camions - on ne marche pas. The honoured veterans, they limp along, very tired, and about to get that long delayed rest. In fact, like other armies now of no use, they are about to receive a final discharge. The trucks were the best and the hardest working part of the organization, and certainly rate a letup, if any of it does. Stayed there for four days altogether, and certainly had a royal time. It was almost like getting home again, in a sense, for all of the oldest and best friends that I have over here are located in that district. By the way, Coburn tried on his full weight pack the other day, walked about a quarter of a mile, and then returned to his remorque swearing that he would apply for a discharge over here! And judgeing from the appearance of the thing, I don't blame him very much. The pack loaded as per the little blue book weights more than enough, and on top of that (now that the war is over and they can find such things) each man in the entire organization has been issued 100 rounds of ammunition that he must have in order to get aboard ship. It's a great old war. Acquired quite a few pictures of various people and places, and as soon as they are developed and printed shall send them along home. The camera works a lot better, now that I have learned a little more about it. Have you received the pictures that I sent two weeks ago or thereabouts? One of the officers of the motor transport office obtained orders home the other day - because he is married - and leave this afternoon, so last night we all gave him a farewell supper. Chatered the Schloss Cafe again had the Jazz band in excellent working order, and thoroughly convinced the German propietors of the place that the American army has gone insane. Wish that I were going along. I have about decided that my future occupation at home will be with automobiles. Don't know just what or where or how - or when - but it probably will be autos, and preferably trucks or tractors. Ken Gedney thinks that Hastings, Nebraska, is a pretty good sort town, especially as he intends to live there, so the other day we figured out a wonderful scheme of becoming the latest two billionaires in the motor field. I have just short of fifty different ideas, all buzzing around together, and it is rather a problem as to whether they can be untangled. The smell of gasoline is mixed up in all except two of these grandes idees. Doesn't Mr. Wright want a new manager down in the Southlands? It certainly seems about time that Mexico straightened out her difficulties, if she is at all inclined toward straightening. I was sorry to hear the news. Before I forget to mention the fact - Ken Gedney wishes me to inform Dad that his coaching class is to have another customer. He leaves this part of the world next Saturday. Lucky dog! A book that I wish you would get. "Camion Cartoons", by Kirkland H. Day, published by Marshall Jones Company, Boston. $1.06, postage prepaid. Kirk Day is one of the acting sergeants of old company A, and the


book is a collection of letters to his mother, published without his knowledge. I have seen a number of the cartoons with which he decorated all of his personal letters, and most of them were mighty clever. Still, that's his job in civil life - cartoon-ing. The orderly just brought in two rolls of magazines from home, so I think that I should bring this to a close and examine said rolls. they look interesting. This isn't much of a Mother's letter; that is, rereading it shows that it is not much different from the other letters. All of my letters are Mother's letters anyway. Told Frau Sabel this morning that today was Mother's day all over America, and she thought that was "schon" with two dots over the "o". Being German, she can't understand yet why there is such a thing as Mother's day, though. My love and thoughts go with all of my scribble home, but perhaps just a little more than usual finds its way into this one. Wish I were there! Your son- Ned-

From the service of James E. (Ned) Henschel, Co. B Reserve Mallet--French Army, American Field Service, Quartermaster Corps, General Hdgts., and Motor Transport Co. 831.
Date May 11, 1919
Year Range from 1919
Year Range to 1919
People Henschel, James (Ned) Edward
Subjects World War I
Letters (Home)
Operas & operettas
Military life